Dalai Lama devotee Gere treks to Tibet

GOOD MORNING: Richard Gere departed L.A. Nov. 14 en route to Tibet and is not expected to emerge until Dec. 6. No one has heard from him since his Beijing stop. He was invited by the Chinese government to show “Sommersby” in Canton. He’s now traveling to Tibet with a monk. It’s remarkable that Gere was allowed to make the Tibet trek — the Dalai Lama is not permitted back there — and Gere’s long been a supporter of his (and Tibet’s) causes. On his return, Gere works on his book, “The Healers,” for Doubleday, where Jackie Onassis is enthused about its publication. Gere will deal with healing in all aspects, from traditional to unconventional. He and co-author/friend Jonathan Cott hope to have contributions from the Dalai Lama, as well as Mother Teresa, Jonas Salk, etc. A TV series (possibly PBS) would also follow. Gere has not chosen a movie to follow his three-in-a-row, “Sommersby,””Mr. Jones” and “Intersection.” But he will certainly have some interesting stories to tell wife Cindy Crawford on his return next week … I asked Ed Begley Jr. if he had any political aspirations, following his appointment by Mayor Richard Riordan to the city’s Environmental Affairs Commission. “Not right now — no more actors in the White House,” he laughed. As Begley’s buddies in the biz know, he is dead serious about the environment. He is one of the first to support its causes — and puts his money where his mouth is — and even drives his electric car — or bicycle — to industry functions. He plans to propose more (safe) bike paths in the city. He and Hizzoner are bike buddies. Begley will have to juggle jobs for his new chores: He’s currently playing Harry Hopkins in “World War II: They Were Giants,” as well as working in NBC’s “Winnetka Road” with Meg Tilly — and on weekends co-starring in John Morrissey’s feature “Sensation.”

BILL BIXBY’S THREE LOVES were the subject of the toasts to him Monday at the Bel Air Hotel: His new family, “Blossom” and golf. Among those reminiscing: Bob Newhart, Dick Martin, Jimmy Komack, Harry Nillson, Paul Williams, Don Reo, Judith Allison, Joey Lawrence, Ted Wass, Mischa Stoyanov, Paul Witt and Tony Thomas and Bixby’s wife, Judy. A memorial is planned for Jan. 29, which would have been Bixby’s 60th birthday … Today, at D.C.’s Holocaust Museum, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg presents a commemorative medal to Emily Schindler, widow of Oskar S. Steven Spielberg and the stars of “Schindler’s List” are on hand as are Lew Wasserman, Sidney Sheinberg and Tom Pollock. And it’s hoped President Clinton will join them at tonight’s premiere at the Wisconsin Avenue Cineplex Odeon … In December’s Rolling Stone interview with Jann Wenner and William Greider, Clinton opines about government restriction on the violent content of TV: “It’s a dicey deal because you don’t want the cumulative impact of the popular culture to reinforce the destructive developments that are already running like wildfire through society. I would far prefer to see a revolution led by the entertainment community about how they deal with these issues.” On the bigscreen front, Clinton says he saw “Boyz N the Hood”–“It’s a movie I would’ve wanted a lot of elementary-age kids in the inner city to see, because there was no romance. It was a mean, ugly, sad, heartbreaking tale of basically good kids who wanted to have a decent life who had it taken away from them.” To which Wenner noted, “It’s good to have a president who’s watching ‘Boyz N the Hood’ instead of some old John Wayne rerun.”

THE BEST MUSICAL OF THE YEAR was Larry Gelbart’s “City of Angels,” according to London’s Evening Standard. “Angels” unfortunately closed Nov. 13 … Storybook romance: Rogers & Cowan VP Cheryl Kagan and Tulsa’s Dr. Hilly Dubin were married Nov. 27 in a gala ceremony attended by more than 200 at the Four Seasons in BevHills. The couple first dated in Brooklyn high school and then went their separate ways — only to reunite 25 years later … And Lorna and Milton Berle were toasted by the Hotel Nikko on their second wedding anniversary Friday. Laughs were furnished by pals including Jack Carter, Jan Murray, Red Buttons, Sid Caesar, Jesse White — and songs by Tony Martin and Jerry Vale … Montel Williams is saluted today at the Museum of TV & Radio as he tapes his 500th show … The publication of “Paul R. Williams, Architect, A Legacy of Style,” by his granddaughter, Karen E. Hudson, was celebrated at the home of Deborah and Bernie Brillstein — their home is by Williams, 1932. Previous owners include Michael Landon, Bill Cosby and Freddie Fields. It’s one of 300 Williams-designed/built homes in Bel Air, BevHills and Holmby. Williams’ credits range from stars’ homes to the MCA (now Litton Industries) Building to the Al Jolson shrine at Hillside to the BevHills Hotel.